Seven Arkansas college radio stations, including the UA station KXUA, joined together to form a statewide association to assist with and promote college radio across the state.
The Arkansas College Radio Association was created to help form, develop and operate college radio stations in Arkansas, according to the ACRA’s website.
It also serves to develop and maintain a collection of resources for Arkansas college radio stations, to facilitate cross-station collaboration and to conduct outreach to community members interested in these radio stations, said Jacob Turner, the ACRA president and technical director for Hendrix College’s radio station KHDX.
The association was formed in February. Turner thought of the idea last fall, when KXDH was visited by radio blogger Jennifer Waits, who was writing about different Arkansas college radio stations, Turner said.
“I asked myself, ‘What if we, the staff from all of the stations, started working together,’” Turner said.
Soon after, Turner sent out a survey to every college in Arkansas that had a radio station, asking if they would be interested in forming a working group, he said.
Lucas Coberly, KXUA’s station manager, received Turner’s survey and was interested.
“Collaboration with other stations in Arkansas was something I felt was lacking, so it’s very encouraging to have started on that path,” Coberly said.
Once Turner got back what he thought was enough interest from different stations, they worked together to plan a meeting, which was at Henderson State University on Feb. 25, Turner said.
The meeting was interesting because half of the people were physically at the meeting and the other half were video chatting, but it was very productive, Coberly said.
“We all got acquainted, set the goals we wanted to achieve with the organization and set ground rules,” Coberly said.
They also voted for officers, and Coberly was voted the media and technical coordinator, Coberly said.
The ACRA is the first of its kind in the U.S., and while it is just in its beginning stage, Turner said he hopes to make this something bigger than just a group run by college students.
“We created this because we see a need now, especially since you have people who say that radio is a dying art or may think it isn’t something that isn’t needed,” Turner said. “The point of the association is to show what’s the importance of college radio – to show that it isn’t a dying art, but it is important to the community it serves.”
Right now, it is not defined what it means for different college radio stations to be members of the association, but that will be made more clear in future meetings, Coberly said.
“What it could look like is potential collaboration with other stations for a show or helping out new stations,” Coberly said.
Turner agreed and said he also wants the association to help create more college radio stations in Arkansas.
“Not every college radio station in Arkansas is a part of it yet, so I want us to keep working to reach out to other colleges and work to bring radio stations to colleges that are without one,” Turner said.
Seven college radios are a part of the association: Hendrix College, the University of the Ozarks, Harding University, Arkansas State University Mid-South, Arkansas State University, the UofA and the UofA at Fort Smith.
The next ACRA meeting will be next fall, Coberly said.